A journey through the gardens at Lotusland is a magical experience on any day, but on July 29 the stunning background was only part of the phenomenal experience. For Lotusland’s “Avant Garden” summer bash, fashion installations by the renowned Italian house Valentino, along with a variety of entertainment, were deftly placed throughout the spectacular gardens.The annual fundraising event, which sold out two months in advance, was attended by 500 guests, fashionably sporting garden attire, black tie outfits, and amusing costumes. The event raised an estimated $400,000 for Lotusland’s operations. The fashion theme was chosen because Ganna Walska, the estate’s founder, was known for her iconic style — in her clothes as well as her garden.
Guests were greeted at the entrance with an assortment of libations and a performance by Opera Santa Barbara’s soprano Deborah Bertling and mezzo-soprano Joanna Lynn-Jacobs. As guests began their journey, they were met by decorative artist Colette Cosentino who was putting the final touches on a 400-foot-long mural that separates the main walkway from what will become the new Japanese Garden. Working with photographs from the landscape architecture team, Cosentino beautifully painted, just for this event, a vision of what will appear in late 2018.
Inside the Main House was the special exhibition, Avant Ganna, showcasing Walska’s own fashion sense with her eclectic collection of costumes and jewels. Guests were greeted in the breathtaking aloe garden with a violin concert and in the equally lovely water garden with the first Valentino installation. All of the clothes at the event were from…
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